The Sound And The Fury

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade August 2001

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William Faulkner helped to bring about a new style of literature for the twentieth century known as the stream of consciousness. The stream of consciousness is a technique where the author takes the reader into the minds of the characters. This style is reflected through unorganized occurrences of events, random ideas associated with images, and in The Sound and the Fury, Faulkner employs the innovative style of multiple streams of consciousness in order for the reader to judge Caddy's human nature. Through the multiple points of view and the conscious thoughts of Caddy's brothers, Benjy, Quentin, and Jason, Faulkner creates the reader's spark to judge Caddy.

Benjy's section, the first in the novel, places the reader in the mind of a mentally retarded thirty-three year old who does not recognize the time shift of an hour ago to twenty years ago. For example, as children Caddy was the only Compson to love and take care of Benjy.

She was the only one who understood his needs, and he needed her because she was his motherly figure. Faulkner used Benjy as one of the characters to help the reader evaluate Caddy and to allow the reader to have an opinion of her human nature. In Benjy's case, his opinion of her evoked sympathy for her character. To employ the stream of consciousness of an idiot, Faulkner uses short simple sentences and easy vocabulary. Yet the section is a very complicated one due to the fact that Benjy has no concept of time nor order, therefore the reader gets lost in his thoughts. Thus the frequent use of sentence fragments, interruption among sentences, and Benjy's thinking in images illustrates Faulkner successfully taking the reader into the mind of Benjy the retarded Compson.

Quentin serves as the second narrator and the second to...